1. Building Digital India from the grassroots

Building Digital India from the grassroots

The Intel-DST Innovate for Digital India Challenge is intended to foster grassroots level innovation that will help bring technology to every household in India

By: | Published: April 27, 2015 2:57 AM

In 1965, Gordon Moore made a prediction that would set the pace for our modern digital revolution. From careful observation of an emerging trend, Moore extrapolated that computing would dramatically increase in power, and decrease in relative cost, at an exponential pace. The insight, known as Moore’s Law, became the golden rule for the electronics industry, and a springboard for innovation. As a co-founder, Gordon paved the path for Intel to make the ever faster, smaller, more affordable transistors that drive our modern tools and toys.

Cut to present. Intel recently celebrated 50 years of Moore’s Law. It remains Intel’s driving force that will enable an emerging generation of inventors, entrepreneurs and leaders to reimagine the future. Moore’s Law doesn’t just drive technological change; it also creates huge economic value and drives social advancement. In sync with this sentiment, Intel and the department of science and technology (DST) have launched a unique ‘Innovate for Digital India’ Challenge, which will focus on the creation of products to increase technology adoption in India that will eventually result in the creation of a local technology system.

“Innovation is part of Intel’s DNA,” said Debjani Ghosh, vice-president, Sales and Marketing Group and managing director, Intel South Asia. “The Intel-DST platform will combine Intel’s history of game-changing innovation and world-class technology with the government’s bold Digital India vision and the immense entrepreneurship talent in the country to create a sustainable tech ecosystem that is innovating for India. Through this challenge, we aim to bring to market tangible products and solutions that will help make Digital India a reality.”

Without doubt, the time is ripe for a Digital India. But to make meaningful progress, the only option is to penetrate urban as well as rural India with innovative solutions at low cost. And, this is precisely for what the Intel-DST platform has been put into place. Intel officials informed that the new initiative will be open to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, innovators, academia, designers, engineers and makers from diverse backgrounds. Participants will be provided mentoring by industry stalwarts and Intel experts, assistance in terms of technical know-how, access to product kits and infrastructure, and commercialisation opportunities. They will also be provided market linkages and access to funds at various stages to help make their ideas into a reality. Total grants are worth R1.5 crore; top three teams will get access to seed fund of R20 lakh each. “With this challenge, we expect to see breakthrough ideas and indigenous innovations that will solve some of India’s key challenges,” said RS Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and IT.

The Innovate for Digital India Challenge, running from April 2015 to January 2016, has been designed with DST, with support from the department of electronics and information technology, MyGov.in and will be managed by IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship. The initiative aims to encourage the creation of intuitive, easy-to-use solutions that can increase access to critical services imperative for development. Eventually the best ideas will get help for commercialisation leading to the creation of a local technology ecosystem furthering the government’s Make in India vision.

The challenge will focus on innovation in two broad areas. The first is innovation to create the ideal citizen’s device platform, including biometric sensing capabilities, peripherals using other sensors, intuitive user interface, gesture recognition, multi-lingual support and voice support. The second area is innovation to deliver eKranti/MyGov application to accelerate delivery of e-governance services on a mobile platform.

Intel has been fostering innovation for more than two decades in India from school level to higher education, including Ph.D Fellowships. More than 180 Indian school students have participated in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to date, with 18 Indian winners, who have minor planets named after them. The Intel Higher Education Programme bridges the gap between academia and industry standards to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and has reached more than 235,000 students and 4,500 faculty members across 550 institutions to date. Last year, Intel India announced the Intel Ph.D Sponsorship Programme to boost quality research and enhance Ph.D programmes across the country.

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